Brion McClanahan’s new book, Southern Scribblings, contains sixty scholarly and eloquently-written essays about the American history you are not supposed to know. The reason you are not supposed to know about it is America’s first cultural war that long preceded the current one and is still ongoing. That “war” began with the New England Puritans, whose philosophical descendants became the universally despised “Yankees.” These are people mostly from New England and the upper Mid-West originally who believed that they were superior to all others and therefore had a “right” to govern over them, by force if necessary. They have a mindset of what Judge Napolitano calls “libido dominandi,” or the lust to dominate. Today, Hillary
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Brion McClanahan’s new book, Southern Scribblings, contains sixty scholarly and eloquently-written essays about the American history you are not supposed to know. The reason you are not supposed to know about it is America’s first cultural war that long preceded the current one and is still ongoing.
That “war” began with the New England Puritans, whose philosophical descendants became the universally despised “Yankees.” These are people mostly from New England and the upper Mid-West originally who believed that they were superior to all others and therefore had a “right” to govern over them, by force if necessary. They have a mindset of what Judge Napolitano calls “libido dominandi,” or the lust to dominate. Today, Hillary Clinton would be what Clyde Wilson has called “a museum-quality specimen” of a Yankee. Yankees are a component of both political parties, but today’s Democratic party is the home of the most extreme ones, who seem to be part Yankee and part Stalinist totalitarian with their university speech codes, their “cancel culture,” their utopian plans to centrally plan all aspects of everyone’s life with their “Green New Deal,” to confiscate private wealth, communist style, with “wealth taxes,” and so on.
After waging total war on the entire civilian population of the South from 1861-1865, murdering hundreds of thousands, the Yankees commenced a “holy war” against American history and especially Southern history, a major theme of Southern Scribblings. In war, the victors always write the history to portray themselves in the best light possible, no matter what the truth is. The Yankees have been doing this for more than 150 years, as McClanahan describes in essay after essay.
Among the things you will learn from this book are why Hamiltonian statism has always been the enemy of American freedom and a poisonous threat to genuine, free-market capitalism. Most Americans would also be surprised to learn that, after the War to Prevent Southern Independence, there was a monumental effort at reconciliation, lasting for generations, and supported by presidents from McKinley to Bill Clinton. McClanahan calls Jimmy Carter “the last Jeffersonian president” and discusses how “Memorial Day” began as “Decoration Day” where the sacrifices of soldiers on both sides of the “Civil War” were recognized. This of course is no longer the case thanks to the stultification of America by the country’s own universities over the past generation.
Prior to the 1960s “Civil War” history was much more honest and truthful than it has become ever since then. For example, everyone understood that the tariff was the main bone of contention between the Yankees of the North, who wanted a 50% (and higher) protectionist tariff, whereas the South wanted its entire country to be a free-trade zone with minimal “revenue tariffs.” Republican party newspapers even editorialized in favor of bombarding the Southern ports before the war because they understood that free trade in the South would be devastating to the Northern plutocracy.
Everyone also understood that slavery had nothing to do with why Lincoln launched a military invasion of his own country because they were familiar with his own words and the 1861 war aims resolution of the U.S. Congress. That all changed in the 1960s when Leftist historians like Kenneth Stampp decided that the history of the war and reconstruction should be rewritten so as to portray the New England Yankees as angels of salvation who were willing to die by the hundreds of thousands solely for the benefit of black strangers a thousand miles away. (McClanahan points out the truth that racism and white supremacy was worse in the North than in the South in the nineteenth century, something that even Toqueville wrote about in Democracy in America).
At the same time the history profession since the 1960s contrasted angelic Northern saviors to the descendants of Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, and other Southerners as the most evil and decadent human beings to ever inhabit the earth. This of course is the current politically-correct view of everyone and everything Southern in the eyes of the left-wing political elite.
Southern Scribblings explains what a big, steaming pile of horse manure this all is, along with the incredible hypocrisy of “Northern self righteousness.” It has fueled the fires of “PC Lunacy,” a section of the book containing nine hard-hitting essays.
You will also learn how insidious the academic history profession is with book after book having been written with false narratives about the “lost cause.” As the only group of Americans who ever seriously challenged the tyrannical impulses of the central government, Southerners must be demonized for eternity in the eyes of the Puritan/Yankee culture that lords over American academe – and much of the rest of society.
The most interesting chapters to your author are the ones that dissect the Leftist and neo-conservative smearing of such Southern figures as Robert E. Lee and John C. Calhoun and their never-ending deification of Lincoln. The chapters on “the real Robert E. Lee” is worth the price of the book. Addressing the current effort by the ignoramus governor of Virginia, among others, to get the statue of Lee removed from the national Capitol building in Washington, McClanahan writes: “No one as grand as Lee . . . should be surrounded by such reptiles in Washington” anyway.
Few Southerners have been as vilified as John C. Calhoun, a former secretary of war, secretary of state, vice president, senator, and representative. The real reason for this vilification has nothing to do with slavery, but with the fact that, philosophically, Calhoun was “too much” of a Jeffersonian and a champion of federalism, states’ rights, and decentralization, deadly poisons to all would-be tyrants and dictators. His Disquisition on Government is one of the greatest treatises on political philosophy ever written by an American and was a favorite of Murray Rothbard’s, who cited him in many of his writings.
McClanahan discusses many of the key ideas in the Disquisition in several essays on Calhoun. After reading them you will understand the evil and dishonesty of his detractors, from neocons like Victor Davis Hanson to just about the entire academic history profession, which after all is dominated by self-described Marxists.